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ERITREA
CASE N° ERI/01 - OGBE ABRAHA
CASE N° ERI/02 - ASTER FISSEHATSION
CASE N° BERHANE GEBREGZIABEHER
CASE N° ERI/04 - BERAKI GEBRESELASSIE
CASE N° ERI/05 - HAMAD HAMID HAMAD
CASE N° ERI/06 - SALEH KEKIYA
CASE N° ERI/07 - GERMANO NATI
CASE N° ERI/08 - ESTIFANOS SEYOUM
CASE N° ERI/09 - MAHMOUD AHMED SHERIFFO
CASE N° ERI/10 - PETROS SOLOMON
CASE N° ERI/11 - HAILE WOLDETENSAE
Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 175th session (Geneva, 1st October 2004)


The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of the above-mentioned parliamentarians from Eritrea, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/175/11(a) R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 174th session (April 2004),

Taking account of the letter from Mr. Andebrhan Weldegiorgis, Ambassador of Eritrea to the European Union, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain, dated 25 September 2004,

Recalling that the former MPs concerned, all also former senior government officials, have been in incommunicado detention since their arrest on 18 September 2001 for having, in May 2001, published an open letter calling for respect of the rule of law, justice and democratic reform through peaceful and legal means; owing to their incommunicado detention, there are increasing fears for their health and safety,

Considering that, in his letter of 25 September 2004, the Ambassador confirmed information he had provided previously, namely that the former MPs concerned had committed crimes against the sovereignty, security and peace of the nation and that the question of whether to bring their case to trial before a court must be considered in conjunction with the progress in the peace process, as the case entailed extremely sensitive aspects pertaining to the implication of third countries and able to harm the peace process; it was therefore correct to assume that their case would be brought before a court upon completion of the peace process; he reaffirmed, moreover, that it was normal government policy and practice to accord humane treatment and provide necessary medical care for all detainees, including the persons concerned,

Recalling also that, at its 34th session (November 2003), the African Commission on Human and Peoplesí Rights (ACHPR), in a decision on a complaint regarding the situation of the former MPs concerned, found the State of Eritrea in breach of Articles 2, 6 (right to liberty and security of the person), 7(1) (right to fair trial) and 9(2) (right to freedom of expression) of the African Charter on Human and Peoplesí Rights; it urged the State of Eritrea to order their immediate release and recommended that they receive compensation; considering in this respect that, in his letter, the Ambassador stated that the Government of Eritrea had, on 22 March 2004, categorically rejected and strongly protested against not only the ACHRPís prejudicial position but also the illegal international dissemination of that position in breach of Articles 58 and 59 of the Convention, and of its Rules of Procedure; the ACHPR, at its 35th session (May-June 2004) had therefore agreed to issue and similarly disseminate a public statement declaring that (a) the decision of the ACHPR can be legal and operational only after its adoption by the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government, (b) the claimant has the moral and legal responsibility to refrain from disseminating tentative information communicated to him/her in confidence and, thus, make a public retraction of its misleading information, and (c) the ACHPR will make a public statement on the matter after a decision by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government,

Bearing in mind that the Constitution of Eritrea (1997) provides that every person held in detention must be brought before a court of law within 48 hours of his or her arrest and that no person shall be held in custody beyond such period without the authority of the court (Article 17, paragraph 4),

  1. Thanks the Ambassador of Eritrea to the European Union, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain for the information he provided;

  2. Notes with deep regret that the situation of the former MPs concerned remains unchanged and that they have now been in incommunicado detention for three years without being brought before a judge and without any charges being laid against them;

  3. Can therefore only reaffirm that this situation constitutes a gross violation of their fundamental rights under the Constitution of Eritrea and under the African Charter of Human and Peoplesí Rights, to which Eritrea is a party;

  4. Reaffirms that no argument whatsoever can justify such violation of human rights;

  5. Fears that the refusal of the authorities to bring them to trial, rather than being linked to the peace process, suggests that the accusations brought against them are groundless;

  6. Urges the authorities therefore either to release them or to bring them to trial before an independent and impartial tribunal, in either case without further delay;

  7. Remains convinced that an on-site mission would contribute to a settlement of this case, and therefore reiterates its wish to carry out such a visit; requests the Secretary General to pursue his efforts to this end;

  8. Requests the Secretary General also to take any such steps as may facilitate progress in this case; and requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 112th Assembly (April 2005).

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